Hidden Voices, Connected Worlds

On Saturday 28th April, @uccsplas coorganised two intensely moving events for Cork World Book Fest, bringing closure to a week that showcased the diverse languages and cultures embraced by the Department.

The first event consisted of a poetry reading by the Galician poets Luz Pichel and Olga Nova, whose powerful performances of living monuments to the rural world of their childhood alternated with translations into English by the talented Dublin-born poet and translator Keith Payne.

The afternoon saw a celebration of two Catalan women writers, Caterina Albert and Maria-Mercè Marçal, in commemoration of the anniversary of the death of the latter in 1998 and the first public presentation of the work of the former, in Olot, a century earlier.

Bringing these diverse women’s voices to Cork City Library was an important reminder both of the strong cries of protest transmitted by women across Spain in recent months and also of the value of listening to other, hidden, minority or unknown voices, in order to enrich understanding of our plurilingual world, and also to seek ways of communicating between different languages and cultures that do not just involve transparent and unidirectional translation into dominant codes.

The rewards of painstaking negotiation between languages were made apparent in the sense of dialogue and complicity between poets, translator and audience, as well as in the powerful staged reading of Caterina Albert’s The Infanticide as translated by Kathleen McNerney and performed by Aisling Reardon, Leanne Foxwell and Helena Buffery, directed and arranged by Roisin O’Gorman of the UCC Theatre department.

 Written in 1898, the dramatic monologue was Albert’s first work and presents the tragic tale of a young rural peasant girl left to deal with a first pregnancy alone. Performed in English, with echoes of the original Catalan verse, the showing brought the societal restrictions of late nineteenth-century rural Catalonia home to Cork, drawing the audience to listen with care to the young girl’s dilemma and to the terrible injustice of her subsequent fate.

With this week of events and activities dedicated to disseminating the latest research about the minority languages and cultures of the Iberian Peninsula, focusing on Basque, Catalan and Galician cultural production, @uccsplas renewed its commitment to the translation and dissemination of hidden or silenced voices. We were pleased to welcome the writers, scholars and critics: Jon Kortazar, Joxe Mari Iturralde, Ana Gandara, Luz Pichel, Olga Nova, Lorna Shaughnessy, Keith Payne and Pura López Colomé.

Thanks to Amaia Arakistain, Martin Veiga, Pedro Nilsson-Fernàndez, Helena Buffery, Paula Teixeira Molans, Yairen Jerez, Nuala Finnegan and Laura Linares at @uccsplas and Roisin O’Gorman, Aisling Reardon and Leanne Foxwell at @UCCTheatre for their work in organising these events, and to support from: the Etxepare Institute, Xunta de Galicia, Institut Ramon Llull and Instituto Cervantes.

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